Ron Rivera refuses to name Dwayne Haskins the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team, but listening to the coach's comments about the second-year passer, it sure sounds like it's Haskins job.
"He's done a great job of studying, preparing and getting himself ready for this. He's been great," Rivera said Tuesday morning. "He's been on the field, doing the things we've asked of him. He's done the extra stuff that he and I talked about in the offseason. He's done the things that, I think, puts him right there where he needs to be at this junction of where we are in our training, having only been able to do zoom and now only having four days of work on the field."
Much has been made about veteran QB Alex Smith's return from injury.
Smith's story has been incredible, working his way back from a compound fracture in his leg and 17 surgeries as his body was ravaged by infection. Now Smith is able to work out with trainers at the Washington practice facilities for multiple days without setbacks. It's a remarkable story.
But there are still major hurdles for Smith to get back on the field, not the least of which is clearing a football physical from the Washington doctors.
"For him, it's really just a matter of, can he do the movements he needs to do?" Rivera said. "Can he protect himself when he's on the field more so than anything else?"
There's another important element to point out and that's the advantage - real or perceived - that Kyle Allen has over Haskins.
Allen started nine games for Rivera and new Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner last season in Carolina, and found some success. The Panthers won Allen's first four starts, and in those games, he threw no interceptions. Conversely, Carolina lost the last six games Allen started and he threw 11 picks in those contests.
Earlier this offseason Rivera suggested that Allen could have a "leg up" on Haskins based on knowledge of Turner's system. Asked on Tuesday if Haskins still trailed in that department, Rivera did not seem concerned.
"I don't think Dwayne is very far behind, I really don't."
Rivera wants open competition across his football team. No player gets named starter, rather that player earns the job. Sure sounds like Haskins is doing just that when it comes to the starting quarterback spot.
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